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Sen. Nelson: Pulse Nightclub gunman may have ties to ISIS

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. (WKMG via CNN Newsource)

ORLANDO, Fla. (WPEC) - U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla., says the man suspected in the deadly shooting attack at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando may have had ties to ISIS.

Nelson made those comments in a news conference Sunday, hours after the shooting that left 50 people dead and another 53 people hospitalized.

The senior senator from Florida said he asked the FBI whether Omar Mateen had any ties to Islamic radicalism. Nelson said the FBI said there appear to be ties, but the agency remains naturally cautious and is waiting for the facts to emerge.

Nelson said he also checked with intelligence staff who believe there is some connection to ISIS, but that has not been officially confirmed.

"This appears to be an act of terrorism," said Nelson.

RELATED | Florida Governor Rick Scott: 'This is clearly an act of terror'

Nelson noted two successive shootings in the past two days. The fatal shooting of "The Voice" star Christina Grimmie at a concert in Orlando, and now this latest shooting, the worst in U.S. history, at a gay nightclub.

"What is happening to our country?" asked Nelson.

Nelson says the FBI is asking anyone in the Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie areas who knows Mateen to contact federal investigators.

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